Spiritual Warfare

The most mature and powerful prayer is spiritual warfare. Whether we realize it or not, the enemy of God is attacking the cause of Christ (the message of salvation through faith in Jesus alone). If you follow Jesus, you are part of Christ's cause. You represent Jesus to the world, and God's enemy doesn't like that. Every positive impression of Christianity, every decision to follow God's law, every word of truth spoken can rescue a soul from the jaws of hell and place them on a path toward relationship with God. This makes us who love God the enemy of the devil. It means we have a target on our backs, and we must fight or surrender. We must wage war against the devil's plans.

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. . . And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."--Eph. 6:13, 18

How to pray for revenge (I mean vengeance and justice)


Onmipotent God,

I'm asking you to make things better--a little fairer--
Not for myself,
but for some people I care about.
In my flesh, I want revenge.
In my spirit, I want your righteousness.

People I love got a bum deal,
an unlucky break.
A gross injustice.
They've been sinned against.

I guess you know what that feels like.

I know life's not fair.
I know we are called to suffer for the kingdom.
But I also know you are a God of justice
and you will produce justice and righteousness
in the world
because that's what you always do.
It's how you reveal yourself to all of us--
a God of power, authority, holiness, and love.
You make things right.
Then you bring joy and peace.

Proverbs 21:15 "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
 but terror to evildoers."

You are also a God of vengeance.
So when someone hurts, offends, or traumatizes
people I love--
people you love who are following you--
I don't mind asking for a little vindication and vengeance.

Romans 12:19  "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

You said you'd take care of it.
I hope that doesn't make me terrible
that I want them to get back what they keep dishing out.
Is that my sinful nature
or how you made me?
I want justice, fairness, and equity.

But if I got justice, fairness, and equity for the things I do,
I guess I wouldn't be so incredibly blessed.
I'd have no peace, no future in your presence.

Lord, forgive me for any malice and hatred in my heart.
I want your righteous anger, not my own.
I want your blessing on the just and the unjust.

I want your will for myself and the people I care about.
Often, love travels a long, hard journey
before justice wins.
Give me patience, faith, and courage to wait on you.
Broaden my perspective, my humility, and my meekness.
Bless those who have been wronged.

I suppose all of that is a kind of justice and vengeance.
You are in the process of changing me
and changing everyone else.
You draw them to yourself,
one by one,
from wherever they are sinning.

Justice wins in the end.
You always win.
I praise you, Lord.
And I'm so grateful you aren't like me!

In Jesus' righteous name,
Amen.


A Psalm for anxiety

Have you ever woken up feeling anxious and unsettled?
Do a few dozen responsibilities and concerns fight against one another in your brain?
Feeling nausea or fear in the pit of your stomach?
Are you ever overwhelmed by the sense of defeat and failure when you haven't failed at something?

Hello, Anxiety.

You're a tough one to beat.

When I'm struggling with anxiety, I like to read Psalm 13 and Psalm 31. Several other Psalms speak to fear, oppression, and grief--which can feel similar to anxiety--but these two seem to zero in on the cloak-and-dagger enemy that is anxiety: our own minds and emotions.

Here's a prayer from Psalm 31:

Oh, Lord,

You are the Comforter and the Healer.
I need your power in my life.
I feel a lot of anxiety and pressure right now.

I honestly can't tell how much is true pressure,
real deadlines,
or just my own unrealistic expectations.
I am pressuring myself,
attempting to either control, direct, or manage
everything I care about.

I need you to manage me.

Take away the shame,
calm my distress,
sooth my afflictions,
relieve my groaning,
comfort my grief,
strengthen my weaknesses,
defeat my oppression,
remember my pain,
repair my brokenness,
defeat my terror,
reveal my confusion,
champion my injustices,
rescue me from danger.

You are my
rock,
refuge,
rescuer,
confidante,
leader,
guide,
deliverer,
safe haven,
merciful judge,
shelter,
sight,
friend,
preserver,
sun,
champion.

My pressures are nothing to you.
My worries are almost laughable (except you would never laugh at me).
My future is secure in you.
My insecurities are unnecessary.

All my days are numbered.
Not one of them is lost to you.

Lord, teach me to number my days
that I may live them for you,
every moment,
free of fear and anxiety,

I trust you and love you,
In the powerful name of Jesus,
Amen.


"My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies [my own thoughts and emotions] and from those that pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave." (Psalm 31:15-17)

Some more prayers and blogs about anxiety:

How to cast away your cares
10 Psalms to read when you're overwhelmed
Prayer for a rushed day
A prayer for trust, peace, and mindfulness
A prayer for the freak-out moments
Discouragement, abandonment, and faith
How to control anxiety so it doesn't control you
Do I really want rest?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:25-33)

A Prayer for justice and vengeance


Oh, Lord God of love and vengeance, 

You uphold the cause of the fatherless and widows.
You put the orphans in families.
You release those imprisoned by sin into freedom.
You bring justice for the abused.
You feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
You sit with the lonely.
You heal the sick.
You remember the abandoned.
You lift up the fallen.
You embrace the unloved.

You are all we need.
Always and forever.
You are everything we could ever long for, 
hope for,
or strive for.

No, you are more than that.
I praise you and believe in you 
that you will serve justice and give hope to _________
as he/she fights against the evil forces that come against his/her life.
I pray for God's Holy Spirit to pour out like fire from heaven 
on ___________ and the needs sitting before him/her.

Decimate the evil that pushes in
and the enemy that sows doubt, fear, and worry.
I pray against the Liar of all lies,
against his forces of evil
and against the people who allow the enemy to work in them and through them.

If they will not repent, Lord--
and we hope that they do--
and that we will forgive--
I pray in Jesus' name for you to take them down.
I pray your power and your vengeance to pour out on behalf of 
the abandoned children,
the betrayed spouse,
the jobless parent.
Defend the cause of the heartbroken,
the ashamed,
the hurting,
the weak,
the accused,
the abused.

You are enough.
You are powerful enough.
You are holy enough.
You are just enough.
You are merciful enough.
You will punish the wicked.

And we will not fear.
We will not say "Why aren't you helping us?"
We will not wonder if you can sustain us.
We will believe.

We claim your power and your righteousness.
To be all the honor and the glory forever.
In the mighty name of Jesus,
Amen.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him.

 (Psalm 109:6-7)



Prayer for a Young Adult


God Almighty,

Give ___________ discernment and courage to develop and protect godly relationships.
Reveal any faulty theology and secular mindsets.
Open doors for spiritual relationships and mentoring.
Help ___________ seek wise counsel in crisis and decision-making.
Encourage ____________'s spirit, soul, and mind--
fight off insecurity and self-loathing and
fill ____________ with a knowledge of your infinite love and unending grace.
Prepare in _____________ a determination to serve and trust you all of his/her life.
Guide ______________ today into your presence.
Fill ___________ with the Holy Spirit and a heart of compassion.

Thank you for the blessing of knowing ___________.
Use me to influence him/her.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Click here for "A Prayer for students"
Click here for "How to pray God's word over your kids"


For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)



Lord, protect my soul


Today I started teaching a poetry unit to my 9th and 10th grade students. As part of my argument that they do, in fact, read or listen to poetry every day, I played a song for them. I'll play a new one each day of the unit, and they will read along and identify the literary devices present in the song. They will analyze  literature and hopefully analyze themselves. 



And they will tap their feet and sing along quietly.


Here is the first song. And here is my prayer to go with it. 

Lord God,

How easy it is to lose my soul to this world!
I scare myself when I realize how easily I am duped,
how easily I am distracted,
how easily I am deceived into thinking something here can actually satisfy me.

This world can offer me nothing,
but I obsess over success and happiness like they can.

Holy Spirit,
protect my soul.
Guard my heart.
Strengthen my will.
Remind my mind
that you are everything,
and this world can offer me nothing.

Lord Jesus,
thank you for saving me,
calling me,
and leading me.

I don't want to lose my soul to anyone but you.
So I will trust you with it.
Today.
Tomorrow.
Forever.

Amen.


Proverbs 4:23--Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.



A Prayer of Spiritual Warfare over children's health


Dear Father-God,

You know what it is to love a son,
give a son,
and lose a son,
so you know what parents go through
when they're worried about losing their kids
spiritually,
emotionally, or
physically.

There are so many ways,
so many paths toward harm,
so many intersections of peril
where the world and the enemy in it
try to snatch up our children,
where the devil speaks lies about our love for them.

I pray your power, love, and dominion
over my children's lives.
You have them,
and you have a plan for them,
even if they don't follow you or your plans.
You will make beauty from the ashes in their lives.

But, oh, I hate the ashes.

Help me trust you with my children.
Help me trust you with my friends' children.
Help me to lament and request in faith,
knowing you love them even more than we do.

On behalf of hurting children,
I pray for patience in affliction,
healing from sickness,
relief from pain,
comfort in sadness,
hope in hopelessness.

In Jesus' name, I pray against the enemy
who tries to wedge himself into the minds and hearts of kids,
who tells them not to trust God,
not to trust parents,
not to trust prayer,
not to believe that you can heal,
that they are created perfectly in your image,
that you designed them for a purpose,
that only you can fill the longings of their hearts.

I pray, Holy Spirit, to speak truth into their minds and hearts.
Confirm your destiny over them.
Heal them.
Protect them from the evil one.

And give us all the faith to follow, whatever happens.

In Jesus' name,
the great Healer,
Amen.


"Who ... heals all your diseases ..." from Psalm 103:1-5


Prayer against the enemy of discouragement


Heavenly Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ,

I ask for you to join me in war against the enemy of discouragement.
I pray against a lack of confidence and hope for my loved one.
I pray in Jesus' name that your forces will defeat all that come against
life and love and holiness.

Bring him a miraculous intervention--
a resolution, a celebration, a season of hope and renewal--
because the forces that come with you are stronger than
the forces that come against him.

The war is already won.
But it'd be nice if you could just knock this battle out for him.
I know you want to grow him by bringing him through a valley.
He knows that.
We know that.
But life is still so hard,
and people can be so cruel.
They say things that discourage, deflate, and destroy
confidence, hope, and vision.

You understand.
Sometimes, you just can't take it anymore.

Give my loved one thick skin,
a tender touch,
and a gracious heart.
May he reach out when others push.
May he stand firm when others strike.

And while I'm praying--
I'd really like it if you'd let him win this one.
Make it a really satisfying defeat against the devil.

You'll get the credit, of course.

It's all you.
It's always you.

In Jesus' powerful name,
Amen.


A prayer of deliverance from spiritual bondage

Lord, the powerful God,

Deliver my friend from spiritual bondage--
from fear, bitterness, anger, victimization, danger.
I pray against the spirits of fear and confusion,
of bitterness and hate.
I pray for hope, healing, and restoration to the daughter
you created her to be.

You replace ashes with beauty.
You place the orphans in families.
You are a husband to the widow.
You are judge to the lawless.
You bring hope to the hopeless,
sight to the unseeing,
healing to the broken,
justice to the oppressed,
friendship to the friendless,
love to the unloved.

Delivering my friend from her spiritual struggles is no problem for you.
Just another day's work for the God of the universe.

I am in awe of you.
In Jesus' holy and mighty name,
Amen.

A Prayer of power over a mission trip


Lord,

You know I'm leaving on a mission trip in a few days.
I'm a bit of a lunatic right now--
so much to do,
and so many concerns.

I know you'll give me enough time and energy to do it.
I know I need to focus on prayer and preparation of my heart.
I know it's about you, not me.

Help me.

And go before me.
I pray your Spirit to hover over our destination,
to stir hearts and longings to know you.
I ask that your angels wage war in the spirit realm,
binding the enemy
who enslaves and robs and lies to these dear people.

In Jesus' name, open up the heavens and pour out your Spirit on this country
and on my team.
Fill us and use us and change us, O God,
according to your will and your purpose.
May our insecurity, pride, and fear not stand in the way of your work.

Overwhelm us with your love and power.
Transform us.
Transform these people.
May they bind the devil in Jesus' name.

I pray all these things in the mighty name of Jesus,
Amen.

Praying for Angels to Surround my Kids


Lord of Heaven,

You have angels at your disposal,
worshipping You,
defending Your holiness,
protecting us, Your children.
You are great and mighty in power
and full of love and mercy.

I ask You to send more angels
to surround my kids today.
Minister to them--
encourage them,
guard them,
defend them against the onslaught of the evil one.
Wage war over them
because You created them to be filled with power and authority in Jesus' name.
You intend for them to silence evil,
withstand persecution,
and glorify You.

May my kids honor and please You today with their thoughts, actions, and motivations.
May they be pure in heart and mind.
May they function as You intended,
surrounded by heavenly hosts
with swords drawn
and voices like thunder.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, my kids will slay spiritual giants and conquer enemy territory.
I believe it in the name of Jesus, the King of all Kings.

Thank You for Your angels.
I call on them in Jesus' holy name--
surround my kids today.

Amen.

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

image by  




Spiritual Warfare over my Rebellious Child

Sometimes, we notice our children slipping away from active faith.
Or we notice stagnant lives, and we stress about them taking a spiritual nose-dive.
Or perhaps they are actively pursuing God, yet we worry about outside influences.
And then there are those frightening times when they just don't care about God at all;
perhaps they are making dangerous and sinful choices.
And we can't stop it.

BUT WE CAN PRAY!

Here's a prayer of spiritual warfare to pray over your wayward child:

Dear Father in Heaven,

You understand a parent's heart. You know that even though I trust You, it's so hard to leave my child completely in Your hands. I'm worried, even angry about the evil influences that push against ________. Please place Your hands around _________ and guide him/her into Your presence. Give him/her a thirst for You and a dissatisfaction for the pleasures of this world. Place people in _________'s path to influence and encourage him/her toward the heart of God. I ask for the Holy Spirit to convict, persuade, and strengthen __________. In Jesus' name, I pray the Holy Spirit's power over the enemy and his forces of evil that daily assault my child. I pray against the enemy's deceitful promises; I pray against the pleasure of evil--may sin taste bitter to my child. Lord, let his/her harmful friends and dangerous actions frighten __________; lead __________ to run toward You for protection, power, and purpose. Help __________ to find his/her identity in You alone, and not in the lies of the enemy of Christ. I claim victory in my child's life because of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and His powerful resurrection! In Jesus' holy and mighty name, I pray for __________ to return to blessings of a life lived wholly for God. May ________ walk worthy of Your calling, may __________ please You. May __________ conform no longer to the world but be transformed in his/her mind. Lead him/her into your good and perfect will. I give him/her into Your hands to transform him/her through Your power. 

In Jesus' precious name,
Amen!

(Read Romans 12, Colossians 1, and Ephesians 6 for more)


image by George Hodan





Prayer for my sponsored child


Dear Lord,

You provide and equip us for the journeys we take.
Please provide a covering from evil and protection from violence for my sponsored child.
Keep the enemy away from his family and his future.
Give him hope, courage, and resilience to live in his present situation.
Help him to know You and love You. I pray for his salvation and surrender to Your will.
I pray for spiritual influences in his life that give him a picture of You and Your love.
Give him a hope and a future of Your designing.
May he always walk in Your ways.
I thank you for the privilege of speaking into his life and loving him.
Your grace is unfathomable.
Thank you for loving me enough to involve me in Your important work.
Make me faithful to Your calling.

I love you! And I love this child. May he grow up in the confidence of both.

Amen.


A Prayer of Protection for the World's Believers



Lord Jesus, Protector and Provider--

I pray your powerful hand of protection of the believers of the world. I pray for their souls to be full
with the knowledge of You. I pray for boldness and protection as they share the gospel in hostile territories. I pray that their lives will radiate the love of Jesus as they go about their daily business. Give them fierce angels to wage warfare on their behalf, to cover them with protection, and to guide them to the battles You want them to fight. Give them victory against their spiritual enemies! Fill them with peace as they fulfill their calling. Protect their spouses and children with Your loving hands; let them live victorious and impactful lives on this earth and for eternity. Bless them, oh Lord! Give these warriors heaven's eyes--help them see with Your perspective and act for Your glory!

In the mighty name of Jesus,
Amen.

image by Jean Beaufort




A Poem for the Battle

Dear Yaweh Nissi, the Lord my Banner,


Wave above me in the fray,
This, your fight, is why You came;
Holiness defends Your name.
I await the victory day
When all people will proclaim,

The Lord reigns, He cannot flee.
The Lord sustains, He won't forsake.
The Lord forgives and peace He makes.
The Lord gives hope, He won't despair.
The Lord will triumph for my sake.

Lord, go with me in the fray,
You, Almighty, Elohim,
Doom advances, hope grows dim;
Faith alone will help me say,
Victory comes through rest in Him.

Holy Spirit, Father, Christ,
who made the world,
who paid the price,
who give me strength,
and calm my heart,
who know my fears
in hidden parts--
Lift my arms.
Stretch my view!
May I find all strength in You!
Give me friends who hold me up
I believe You fill my cup
with blessings, impact, suffering--
I will fight for Jesus' sake.

It's your battle, it's your war,
It's your victory, and so much more.
Throughout history and each new day,
Attend my fears, I do implore.
But either way, I will go forth
My life is yours, I will obey.

Amen.

Ex. 17:10-16 "So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Moses built an altar and called it The Lord in my Banner. He said, 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.'"

image from crestock.com



At War

t's easy to forget that I am in a daily battle. I'm at war. And I'm not talking about fighting with my kids over their homework or the dry cleaners over pants that have vanished. I'm talking about real spiritual warfare--the kind that's kicking me in the butt.
I know a spiritual war is going on because I am praying against stuff that sometimes happens anyway. If I didn't know better, I'd say that my prayers weren't working. But I've been at the Christian life for awhile, so I know that's not true. 
I'm just at war. And in a war, nobody wins all the time. War always creates setbacks and casualties on both sides. Everyone emerges with scars. Spiritual warfare is the reason that life is hard.
So this spiritual war between good and evil becomes the reason that I pray, whether I realize it or not. My desire to push in against the enemy, to take back ground I've lost through wrong choices, to conquer new territory in my heart and mind--these are the reasons I pray. I know that I can't win any battle alone. I must pray.
But I must also prepare myself for injury. (That’s the point of armor, right?) I must count on sustaining some injury to myself, and I must certainly expect the quest for goodness to be agonizing. Prayer provides an avenue to fight, but it also provides a conduit for strengthening my resolve. As I lean into the source of power in my life, my faith in that power grows. I fight harder. I take enemy ground. I plant my flag on the hilltop.

And then I start over again. I'm old enough now to recognize that no war is ever really over.
Eph. 6:10-118  “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (The Message)

Another blog on spiritual warfare can be read on my other website, www.susanwalleyschlesman.com. 
http://susanwalleyschlesman.com/at-war/

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